Petals of the Rose
In Search of Saline
From the Garage Sale, the motley goes briefly over to Jacob’s shop in downtown Hillsboro. It is a cramped place, every shelf, table and wall covered in various gewgaws and dusty treasures. Seeing the place, Waconda and Shika both comment that they’ve seen it in a dream, and they begin to suspect that they’ve both seen Jacob’s abduction, which may mean that others have seen theirs.
Jacob presents Waconda with a ceramic flask. It’s poorly made and lopsided. He seems to think it is a grand gift, though, and fawns over it before handing it over. Waconda receives it gravely, but is puzzled at the import of the gift.
Regrouping, they decide that they should check around for assistance in processing some of the evidence they have from the crime scene. Such as the body itself. Perhaps there is a chirurgeon who can tell them more about the wounds that Demetrius sustained.
They drive to a prominent Starbucks in Beaverton where a lot of Winter changelings hang out. Asking around, Jacob strikes out on finding someone to help them. Meanwhile, Waconda is stressed out from the amount of work they’ve been doing and begins to drink pretty heavily. He annoys patrons of the coffee shop until one of the Winter changelings suggests to Jacob that they should go.
They disperse, and Waconda sleeps for a few hours in his car to sober up at least a bit before driving home. Shika, however, stops off downtown and asks around, making a few phone calls to find out that the Autumn Court has a chirurgeon named Saline. She calls up the boys and tells them to pick her up later to go find her.
Sunday night, Shika, Waconda and Jacob drive up to Vancouver to visit an Autumn courtier who works as a medical examiner at a hospital. Again, with Shika there, they avoid any trouble from Autumn. They drive up there in Waconda’s car and head for the morgue. Ignoring the signs, they go straight in and are confronted by a mortal mortician.
“What are you doing here? Don’t you know this is the morgue? You can’t be down here!”
Shika steps in front of the others. “Oh, we’re sorry. We were just looking for a woman who works here. Her name is Saline?”
“Saline. That’s not a name. I think you need to leave.”
“Look, is there anyone else here at all.”
“Oh, you must mean Sally.” He mutters Saline under his breath again like it’s an absurd mistake to call her that. “She’s not on shift yet. You’re going to need to wait until she comes in for the graveyard shift. Go back upstairs and please just stay there. I’ll send her up to you when she gets here.”
They settle in to wait for Sally, or Saline, or whatever her name is, to arrive. Waconda is surprised to receive a call from a number he doesn’t know. It turns out to be Dim checking in. He says he went to talk to Bart, but doesn’t feel like he can trust his claim of innocence.
Hours later, Waconda and Shika are bored to tears with sitting around the waiting room, when finally a wizened approaches them. Her features all appear blunted, like all the details have been worn off of her from overuse. Her nose is barely a nub, and her mouth is like a smooth split in her face. She’s wearing a blouse and skirt with a long white lab coat over them.
Jacob infers, “Saline?”
The woman shushes him and leans in conspiratorially. “Yes, yes. But don’t call me that again where mortals can hear you. I’m Sally here. Now, who are you guys and what are you doing here?”
They explain that they are the investigators appointed by the Port of Roses sent to determine the cause of Demetrius’ death and find out who, if anyone, murdered him. They want her help in examining the body. She agrees to give it a look, and arranges to view the body at the Autumn Court headquarters on Monday night.
Everyone goes home for the night.